The birds and the bees 101

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Professor teaches sex education at this college and counsels couples in her private practice.  Photo by Taylor Tribbey

Professor teaches sex education at this college and counsels couples in her private practice. Photo by Taylor Tribbey

Professor teaches sex education at this college and counsels couples in her private practice.

Cynthia M. Herrera

Cay Crow is a professor by night and a certified sex therapist by day.

She has taught human sexuality for nine years at this college, and this is the first year Crow is teaching the class at the University of the Incarnate Word.

She also hosts Pizza and Pleasure for students at Trinity University every semester.

Crow has been a sex therapist since 2004. She was a general therapist for 26 years working with children and couples. She also wrote about relationships and sexuality for four years as a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News.

A sex therapist is similar to a regular therapist; however, sex therapists have to know the sex life of the couple or individual seeking therapy.

She specifically works with issues such as gender identity, homosexuality and female and male sexual dysfunction. She counsels clients including rape survivors and gay and lesbian couples or individuals.

Crow also helps those who have a disability, illness or an age-related sexual concern to find alternative ways to have a sex life.

The human sexuality course teaches sexuality research, the science of sex, sexual orientation, how to best stimulate a person, fantasy, sexually transmitted diseases and safe sex.

“If you want to be sexually active, you have to know how to protect yourself,” Crow said.

The course is also available online, but Crow says face-to-face usually works better.

Students who take her class usually have the mentality of a 12 year old because of the lack of sexual education, she said.

Crow also teaches methods for bringing up sex and sexual contraceptives with a partner.

She said some students who enroll in the course are shocked by class discussions and sometimes may feel uncomfortable.

Liberal arts sophomore Eric Guevara took the class as an elective.

“I was surprised by this class’ content and specifically how it is presented,” he said in an email. “There is no beating around the bush, per se, in this class. Sex and sexuality is human nature, but really learning about this subject requires critical thinking and an open mind.”

She notices students do tend to become more comfortable during the duration of the course.

Crow tries to use humor to ease into the subject matter. She says humor is important when talking about sex.

“If you get them laughing, you know they’re retaining it,” she said.

Crow said sexual therapy is the best job someone could have.

“I love it; it’s definitely my calling,” she said. “It’s not something I planned. I stumbled into it.”

Crow initially began her licensing process for sex therapy in 1999 through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. It took her five years to finish her process and obtain her license. She is one of only four certified sex therapists in San Antonio, according to the association.

As a general therapist who counseled couples, she noticed most of their problems revolved around sex, she said.

She said unless she brought up sex during counseling, clients wouldn’t bring it up. Now that she has her business and practice in sexual therapy, she can offer a different view to help clients.

Some common problems for couples are one partner’s lack of sexual desire and painful intercourse. The problems for some college students are lack of knowledge about STDs and their symptoms.

Sex therapists don’t necessarily talk about sex all the time with their clients. They still must be good general therapists, she said.

“I still treat the whole person,” Crow said.

For students, her class can help broaden their knowledge of sexuality.

“I just want students to know this (human sexuality) course is definitely a resource they could use,” she said.


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